City of Toronto urges council to oppose Bill 21



Toronto council backs fight against Quebec’s Bill 21, calling it ‘contrary to the values of Torontonians and Canadians’

A group of seven Torontonians including former City of Toronto councillor and former NDP candidate Paul Ainslie and Toronto Sun columnist John Barber urged the City of Toronto to join with the federal and provincial governments in opposing Bill 21.

“One of the most compelling reasons to oppose Bill 21 is the sheer impact that it will have on our community, our region and our country,” said the group’s statement.

The group is calling for the introduction of a motion to table Bill 21 at council as a matter of urgency, which would then require the City Council to take it up as soon as possible. The motion and reasons supporting it are being introduced in the council meeting.

City Hall staff have confirmed an urgent and controversial public debate is under way.

“This is an urgent matter that demands a swift response,” wrote former Toronto city councillor, city councillor’s and journalist Paul Ainslie in an email to the Toronto Sun.

“We need to take action to stop the threat and advance a sustainable City of Toronto. It is time for the City to take a stand.”

The City of Toronto has said it will not support a controversial law that forces teachers to provide gay sex education classes to students, that bans abortions, that prohibits civil unions, and that prevents women from receiving family planning information and that protects the rights of students to wear religious symbols.

The controversy over Bill 21 began with a petition to Mayor Rob Ford that garnered more than 2,700 signatures in 24 hours.

On Thursday, a group of seven Torontonians, from a variety of community, labour and religious groups, wrote to city council saying the proposed Bill 21 is contrary to Torontonians and Canadians’ values.

“We urge your councilors to use the following legislative instruments to effectively oppose Bill 21,” the seven signatories said in the letter.

1) The City of Toronto cannot support a divisive, anti-equality bill that would fundamentally undermine the fundamental constitutional rights of our Torontonians and Canadians.

2) We need to amend the Canadian Bill of Rights to include a human rights clause that protects freedom of conscience, speech, and religion and prevents discrimination on the basis of sex, ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity and

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